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North Korean hacker group stole $571 mn in crypto attacks

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Bitcoin

San Francisco, Oct 20: Amid growing crypto-jacking episodes, a North Korean hacking group called Lazarus has stolen cryptocurrencies worth more than half a billion dollars.

According to The Next Web that cited findings from the annual report of cybersecurity vendor Group-IB late on Friday, Lazarus was behind 14 hacking attacks on cryptocurrent exchanges since January 2017 — stealing $571 million.

Lazarus is a hacking group which has been linked to a string of attacks against everything from banks to government agencies across the world.

Hackers targeted cryptocurrency exchanges with spear phishing, social engineering and malware.

“Spear phishing remains the major vector of attack on corporate networks. For instance, fraudsters deliver malware under the cover of CV spam [with an attachment] that has a malware embedded in the document,” the findings showed.

Group-IB expects the number of targeted attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges to rise, and not just the ones from Lazarus.

Nearly 10 per cent of the total funds raised by Initial Coin Offering (ICO) platforms over the past year and a half have been stolen.

According to the report, large phishing groups are capable of stealing $1 million a month.

Fraudsters are even building fake websites using stolen cryptocurrency project descriptions and plagiarized white papers.

“Fraudulent phishing-schemes involving crypto-brands will only get more complex as well as cybercriminals’ level of preparation for phishing attacks,” the group warned.

Security researchers have claimed that North Korea-based advanced persistent threat (APT) groups are increasingly attacking financial institutions and Bitcoin exchanges.

There were on average five new threat samples every second that resulted in a massive 629 per cent growth in cryptojacking and other cryptocurrency mining malware in the first quarter of 2018.

The coin miner malware grew a stunning 629 per cent to 2.9 million in the first quarter of 2018, from around 400,000 total known samples in Q4 2017, said a recent report from global cyber security firm McAfee.

The Lazarus cybercrime group launched a highly sophisticated Bitcoin-stealing phishing campaign — HaoBao — which targeted global financial organisations and Bitcoin users.

When recipients open malicious email attachments, an implant would scan for Bitcoin activity and establishes an implant for persistent data gathering and crypto mining.

IANS

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Mobile numbers of WhatsApp on Web users found on Google Search

According to Rajaharia, the latest leak of personal mobile numbers via WhatsApp on Web has not been addressed so far by the either Facebook-owned platform or Google.

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WhatsApp

New Delhi, Jan 16 : As WhatsApp faces intense scrutiny over its upcoming data and privacy policy in India and elsewhere, another user data violation has been reported, this time on the WhatsApp on Desktop (Web) application, allegedly exposing personal mobile numbers via indexing on Google Search.

Although WhatsApp is primarily a mobile app, currently being used by over 400 million users in India, some working professionals also use the instant chat app on their desktops and PCs via the Web version.

Independent cybersecurity researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia on Friday shared some screenshots with IANS showing indexing of personal mobile numbers of WhatsApp users via Web version on Google Search.

“The leak is happening via WhatsApp on Web. If someone is using WhatsApp on laptop or on an office PC, the mobile numbers are being indexed on Google Search. These are mobile numbers of individual users not business numbers,” Rajaharia told IANS.

Earlier this week, concerned at private group chat links being available on Google Search, WhatsApp said that it had asked Google not to index such chats and advised users not to share group chat links on publicly accessible websites.

Google had indexed invite links to private WhatsApp group chats, meaning anyone can join various private chat groups with a simple search. The indexed WhatsApp group chat links have now been removed from Google.

“Despite WhatsApp advising users and telling Google to remove the earlier exposed group chat links, the mobile numbers via WhatsApp Web application are now being indexed on Google Search,” Rajaharia noted.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said in an earlier statement that since March 2020, WhatsApp has included the “noindex” tag on all deep link pages which, according to Google, will exclude them from indexing.

“We have given our feedback to Google to not index these chats. Links that users wish to share privately with people they know and trust should not be posted on a publicly accessible website,” the company spokesperson said.

The issue was first cropped up in February last year when app reverse-engineer Jane Wong found that Google has around 470,000 results for a simple search of “chat.whatsapp.com”, part of the URL that makes up invites to WhatsApp groups.

According to Rajaharia, the latest leak of personal mobile numbers via WhatsApp on Web has not been addressed so far by the either Facebook-owned platform or Google.

The revelation comes at a time when WhatsApp is changing its privacy policy and users will have to “agree and accept” if they plan to keep using the app post-February 8.

On Friday, a single judge bench of the Delhi High Court recused from hearing a petition against the WhatsApp’s upcoming data and privacy policy, on the grounds that it violates the right to privacy of citizens of India.

The plea will now be listed before another bench and would come up for hearing on January 18.

–IANS

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Twitter CEO says banning Trump was right decision but sets dangerous precedent

Dorsey has said he believes those measures can promote more fruitful, or “healthy,” conversations online and lessen the impact of bad behavior.

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Jack Dorsey Twitter CEO

Twitter Inc Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said on Wednesday that banning President Donald Trump from its social media platform after last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol was the “right decision,” but said it sets a dangerous precedent.

San Francisco-based Twitter last week removed Trump’s account, which had 88 million followers, citing the risk of further violence following the storming of the Capitol by supporters of the president.

“Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation,” Dorsey said on Twitter.

“They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning. And sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”

The ban drew criticism from some Republicans who said it quelled the president’s right to free speech. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also warned through a spokesman that legislators, not private companies, should decide on potential curbs to free expression.

In his Twitter thread, Dorsey said that while he took no pride in the ban, “Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all.”

Even so, he added, “While there are clear and obvious exceptions, I feel a ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation.”

Twitter has introduced a series of measures over the last year like labels, warnings and distribution restrictions to reduce the need for decisions about removing content entirely from the service.

Dorsey has said he believes those measures can promote more fruitful, or “healthy,” conversations online and lessen the impact of bad behavior.

The Twitter CEO added that bans by social media companies on Trump after last week’s violence were emboldened by each other’s actions even though they were not coordinated. But in the long term, the precedent set “will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet,” he said.

Supporters of Trump who has repeatedly made baseless claims challenging Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the November election, stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, trying to halt the certification by Congress of Biden’s Electoral College win.

On Wednesday, Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

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Apple sells 18 mn iPhone 12 units in China in Q4 2020: Report

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New Delhi: Apple has sold nearly 18 million iPhone 12 units in the China market in Q4 2020, gaining over 20 per cent market share and exceeding market expectations.

According to a report in DigiTimes citing local data, sales of the iPhone 12 series in China were higher than expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.

“The staggering fourth-quarter iPhone 12 shipments helped push Apple’s share in China’s handset segment to over 20 per cent in fourth-quarter 2020 and reduced the combined share of Chinese brands to about 78 per cent, said the sources, citing market data,” the report mentioned.

The momentum is expected to continue through the Lunar New Year holiday, bringing shipment volumes for Q1 2021 at par with units shipped in the previous quarter.

Citing the trajectory of iPhone 12 sales, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives this month raised his Apple price target from $150 to $160 and sets a Street-high bull case of $200.

“We have not seen a launch uptrend such as this in a number of years for Apple and the only iPhone trajectory similar would be the iPhone 6 in 2014 based on our analysis,” Ives said.

“Based on lead times on the Apple website as well as our checks, we believe pre-orders tracked more than 2x its predecessor iPhone 11 thus far and is a robust start out of the gates for Cupertino on this flagship supercycle product”.

According to Seeking Alpha, the analyst said that while Wall Street is forecasting 215 million iPhone units for the financial year 2021, he sees the potential to sell over 240 million units.

A Counterpoint Research report late last month said that Apple is likely to break previous sales records during its fiscal first quarter (October-December period) as the iPhone 12 is set to bolster global quarterly shipment growth for all iPhones to 21 per cent year-over-year (YoY).

JP Morgan analyst Samik Chatterjee also said that iPhone 12 series lead times have “moderated significantly” since the holidays with most models available for consumers within a week.

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